Sunday 4 of December, 2022
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A Day in the Life of Anyone Who Drives in Egypt

You have a vehicle that runs on four wheels? This might as well be a page out of your diary.

Staff Writer

It's 6:30 AM and every beep from your dreaded alarm serves as a reminder of each choice you made in life that has (in)directly led to you having to wake up this early. You get up anyway and decide you can have this useless introspective conversation with yourself later because you'll have plenty of time while you're stuck in Cairo's invincible traffic jam.

You get your kid to get up, brush their teeth, and run off to their school bus. You get in your car and hit the road. It's 9:01 AM now and you walk into work with your boss side-eyeing you for that one minute of tardiness.

It's 1 PM and your day is going fine, until you decide to sift through your e-mails and find that reminder from your kid's school about parent-teacher meetings this afternoon. It's okay, you can leave before end of day – with your boss side-eyeing you yet again for leaving an hour early. But, you'll make it happen, because who doesn't want to hear about all the trouble their hyperactive child has been causing in math class?

You pack up at around 3 PM and arrive in half an hour. To your surprise, your child hasn't been behaving that awfully and is doing well in school – that's a silver lining you didn't expect. Cool. Now you can go home, make dinner, and catch up on end-of-day work emails you avoided for the sake of your bundle of joy. Maybe this day isn't so bad after all. Then you hear a sound. You ignore it.

Nope, there it is again.

Before you can try to make out what it is, your car starts slowing down and, all of a sudden, it stops. You remove the key and then put it back in the ignition and try to start it – no luck! Sorry, your car isn't available right now, please try again later. No, seriously, your whole day is now taking a turn you didn't expect – and you're in the middle of the Ring Road.

It's about 5:30 PM – a.k.a. the epitome of rush hour – so cars are honking at you, some drivers are using unmentionable words towards you, and empty taxis are nowhere to be found. To top it all off, your child is giving you a look of the same calibre your boss gave you; they're doubting that you're even in control as you try to appear at home.

You break down and cry a little inside.

At 5:35 PM, you go back in the car and call an acquaintance who lives near the closest exit off the bridge. They tell you they moved since last year. Yikes; great choice. But they're willing to help. They send you a mysterious number – swearing on their mother's life that they'd be there before you know it. Maybe this is all part of an evil vengeful plan for not knowing they moved? No time for conspiracies. You call anyway.

Abou Ghaly Motors? Seriously? How did you not think of that yourself? And you're driving one of the cars they masterly know how to tackle. They put you through to an account manager to handle all the business. You find out their Customer Service Complex is on Cairo-Ismailia Desert Road – so, luckily, not too far of from where you stand. They're on their way with their roadside service. All while your kid is still in the backseat waiting to see how big and bad you are now. You're not speaking to that child of yours, you're too scared.

Thankfully, the service guys are here. They check the car and tell you it isn't a huge problem – but some parts need to be changed immediately. No worries, they'll tow the car while sending you and the kid to their new customer service complex in one of their London Cabs. They definitely made you sound important, so you're in a slightly better mood. Someone cares about you. Your pride and joy is still looking at you like your car issues clashed with their very important evening schedule of giving you hell by not eating their vegetables and playing video games instead of doing their homework. You can't win 'em all.

It's about 6:15 PM when you walk into this beautiful building and you're greeted by nice people with genuine smiles – definitely a break from all the crap you've heard on 6th of October Bridge. Before you could even speak, your car problems are communicated smoothly for you and you're told to wait while everything gets taken care of. They tell you to have a bite or chill in the internet lounge. What? That's definitely a long way from your mekaneeky who would've made you sit in a tiny chair while they went under your Jeep for about an hour and then reappeared to tell you to come back in four days.You realise now your child is just excited and ready to explore. But, they haven't eaten. You take them to the food and beverage lounge and have quite a delicious meal with no force-feeding and feuding involved – probably a good time to tell them you're proud of their patience. Then, on your way to the internet lounge, you see a decked out PlayStation corner. WHAT? Your child is never coming home with you and will be raised by cars.They've taken the liberty to start playing before you could think of a good excuse – which you don't have – to tell them to sit near you while you connect to WiFi and go through all your business emails, which you then end up doing in peace. You even have time to look through all the beautiful shiny car parts and gadgets they're displaying. It's like a state-of-the-art car hospital – or rehab.Bad news and good news. On the one hand, your car needs to sleep over because they want to make sure everything is 100 percent OK by running a few more tests. On the other hand, they offer you a car rental. You squirm a little because their customer reps are really charming and you're not used to it, and at the same time you're not made of money. But, to your surprise, SIXT's car rentals are actually quite affordable, so you make the deal.

You obviously have to make sure your rental is wickedly gorgeous to make your coworkers jealous at work tomorrow. Your child is now worn out for the day, and you're shutting down too. You drive home – both bewildered and pleased that, for once, your car problems didn't translate into a day full of sweat, blood, and tears, and that today, amid all its misfortunes, isn't on a list of days you wish you could erase forever.